SIMON BIRMINGHAM: It’s time for this Labor Government to wake up and look at electricity prices. Evidence released today by the Energy Users Association of Australia demonstrates that Australia has some of the highest electricity prices in the world and that, when Labor’s carbon tax is applied, Australians will be paying the highest electricity prices in the world, so it’s time for this Labor Government to acknowledge that there is already plenty of incentive in the market for Australians to reduce their electricity bills, for Australians to be careful about the electricity they use and to reduce, of course, their carbon footprint. You don’t need to apply a carbon tax on top of this for Australians to feel the pain of electricity prices – they are already feeling the pain. This is the last place in the world where we should be adding to the pain that Australians are feeling on electricity prices. The Gillard Government should take steps to axe this tax, acknowledge that it is way out of step with the rest of the world, that carbon pricing in the rest of the world is far below where Labor forecast it to be and that this evidence today demonstrates that Australians will just be paying so much more than anywhere else and what that will really mean is that competitiveness for Australian industry will take a massive hit because, of course, Australian industry will be the ones paying the biggest carbon price in the world and paying the largest electricity prices in the world.
JOURNALIST: A significant a chunk of the big increases that we’ve seen in electricity prices recently has been because of a lack of infrastructure and the money needed to build up that infrastructure in the next 10, 20 years means shouldn’t there be something to do with infrastructure funding and that sort of investment as opposed to the carbon tax, as well?
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: There’s no doubt there’s many factors that go into the fact that electricity prices are already high but the clear reality is the carbon tax will make them even higher. The carbon tax will take Australia from having amongst the highest electricity prices in the world to having clearly the highest electricity prices in the world, so let’s not add another layer of pain to problems we already have. Let’s address those problems and really strive to try to get electricity prices down and make Australian industry more competitive and reduce the cost-of-living pressure on all Australians.